Burn the Priest - Burn the Priest
Epic Records
Raw Thrashcore with Death Metal elements
14 songs (40:57)
Release year: 2005
Burn the Priest, Epic Records
Reviewed by Aaron
Album of the month

First off, note to the confused and wondering: Lamb of God used to be called Burn the Priest, and this is the album was issued under that name. However, the band will be referred to as Lamb of God throughout the review. Also, though I note it arrived in 1998, it was rereleased in 2005, and is thus eligible for an Album of the Month award.

This is the reissue of Lamb of God’s first album, the one that’s nearly impossible to find in any place other than eBay and possibly your local used record store, hidden somewhere waaaaay in the back. I blame the indie label for the shitty distribution, but I digress.

The remastered version –wait for it- totally rips ass. To be honest, I’d never heard the original version, because I wasn’t really interested in it. For comparison, I tracked down a copy of the original version in this tiny little record store down some side street. They had maybe six metal records, and lo and behold, the original Burn the Priest was one of them! The guy at the counter said they’d had it since 1999, and that he was kinda sad to see it go.

But yeah, the remastering. Well, Colin Richardson remastered this, and that means that he fixed all the problems the original had: a lame bass drum sound that reminded me of balls slapping when I listened to it. He preserved most of the rawness that the original recording just fucking OOZED from every pore, and even improved the guitars with this cool static-y effect. The quality of the remastering is thus astounding, overall.

Now, on to the music itself: this is the greatest fucking record Lamb of God EVER released, bypassing Ashes of the Wake easily. Ashes of the Wake was not even close to this angry, this hateful, this destructive, this PURE METAL. It’s aggressive, catchy, almost cacophonous at times, technical, and heavy as all hell.

The riffage is inhumanly wonderful, combining tidbits of Gothenburg melody with overflowing handfuls of raw-as-fuck thrash and healthy doses of death metal heaviness, and only a hint of hardcore. Mark Morton and Abe Spear were an excellent guitar duo just as Morton and Will Adler are today, if a bit more madly creative in their insertion of breakdowns in both thrash and hardcore style, and a bit speedier and crazier as well.

Randy Blythe never sounded like this again, not even on New American Gospel, and that’s a goddamned shame, because this is an excellent performance from him. He screeches like Phil Anselmo did in Eibon, he howls like he himself did in New American Gospel, he even does an incredibly low death metal growl. His mix-and-match vocal styles fit in perfectly with the songs.

The songs themselves? What d’you think I’m going to say? They all chew your larynx out and start on your face when you’re still trying to figure out why there’s a gaping hole in your throat. Harsh, abrasive, sufficiently raw to make anyone wonder who the hell these people are, and stuffed chock-full of intelligent math-metal structures and complex riffing that sounds like Pantera on a coke binge jamming with Meshuggah and Suffocation. Not one of them wastes more time then it needs to, and as such, there is no such thing as filler on this 40 minute descent to the first few levels of hell. Everything is there because it needs to be, and not because some egotistical asshole has decided that he wants it there for no real reason.

All in all, I recommend this record to: anyone who likes or liked Lamb of God, anyone who might have liked Lamb of God if they were heavier and rawer, and anyone who passed over on them because of any one factor.

Give it a spin. You won’t believe your ears.

Killing Songs :
Every note of every song deserves the moniker 'killer.'
Aaron quoted 98 / 100
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